I have been thinking a lot lately about a blog post I read a couple of months ago. The post was by Amber Naslund and she clearly articulated the distinction between improvement and innovation and makes the case for needing both. She states, “Some things we do will be rooted in long time, sound practice, but will need to be modernized or reworked a bit to adapt to the speed, culture, and communication realities that are implied by a more social business. But because social media and social business aren’t just “better marketing,” (this applies to other technologies as well) some things we do will need to be utterly and completely abandoned, reinvented, or established anew.”
To help drive home the importance of innovation, she quoted Henry Ford as saying, “If he’d asked the American people what they really wanted, they’d have said faster horses.”
I have been thinking a lot about it lately because I think our industry has a tough time making the distinction—let alone acting—on situations when innovation rather than improvement is needed. Sometimes, improvement simply is not good enough. We fail if we apply new technology to old processes. New technologies give us the chance to innovate and create new processes.
All the “social” technologies provide opportunity to reinvent the way we communicate, market, sell and service to the insurance consumer. More significant is the impact technologies such as mobile and cloud computing could have on many of our industry’s outdated processes. For example, rather than just improve certificate of insurance processing why not rethink, reinvent and create an entirely new and different way to access and validate the existence of coverage? Could we invent a new and better way to confirm identity and insured acceptance or approval and eliminate the need for signatures altogether? I get that there are legislative and regulatory constraints but I don’t think that is an excuse for our failure to improve and progress.
You get the idea. Given the technology available to us today, what process do you think would be better served by innovation vs. improvement?